FORSYTH, Ga. - A Monroe County woman killed by her nephew on Sunday had just put the 15-year-old boy into DFACS’ custody because she was scared of him, according to family friends.
Dante Krieger, 15, is accused of shooting his aunt, Tryeflue O’Neal, 42, in the head on Sunday morning at her home at 240 Tingle Road.
“She was just a beautiful girl living for Jesus,” Amy Haines-Ross of Forsyth said of O’Neal, her best friend. “She was too beautiful of a soul to die like that. She took the worst in and tried to help him.”
O’Neal was the guardian for both Krieger and Krieger’s mother, her sister, said Haines-Ross, and Krieger had lived with her for a few years. But recently she got a judge’s order to move Krieger out of her home and into foster care because she had so much trouble with him.
“He was violent,” said Haines-Ross. “She was scared of him.”
Krieger had been moved to a foster family in Newton County, near Covington. On Sunday, he stole a car from his foster parents and drove to O’Neal’s home where O’Neal was getting ready for church, said Haines-Ross. Haines-Ross said that Krieger took his aunt’s gun, pistol-whipped her, and then shot her in the head, killing her.
Haines-Ross said that Krieger tried to bury her in a shallow grave by the driveway. Then Krieger stole her car and headed toward South Carolina, she said.
That evening, said sheriff Brad Freeman, he reached Chester County, South Carolina between Columbia and Charlotte, when he called 911 and asked for a deputy so he could turn himself in. Chester County authorities alerted local deputies to check the home around 8:40 p.m. Sunday, and they found O’Neal’s body in a crude, shallow grave. Her body was sent to the GBI crime lab for an autopsy.
District Attorney Jonathan Adams said the teen has waived an extradition hearing and he was brought back to Middle Georgia on Thursday. At a hearing Friday, Judge Tommy Wilson agreed to let Adams try the boy for murder as an adult.
He said deputies also recovered the gun, which he said may have been stolen from O’Neal as she was missing some firearms.
Adams said he has no idea of motive but speculated since the boy was in foster care that he might’ve been upset his aunt had removed him from her home. Adams said the boy had no juvenile record of prior trouble.
Adams said since the boy not only killed his aunt but committed other felonies as well, including stealing two vehicles, he would be inclined to seek the death penalty, but said courts have ruled that out for juveniles.
Meanwhile, Haines-Ross said she is devastated by her loss.
She said O’Neal moved to Monroe County two years ago and she and her two sons all worked at Campers Inn RV in Byron.
She got married last September but the relationship went south and she had finalized her divorce last Thursday, said Haines-Ross. Sheriff Freeman said that deputies had been called to the home four times in the past two years, but only once related to Krieger when he was missing. Haines-Ross said that O’Neal threatened to call authorities on him more times but rarely did.
Haines-Ross said she was going to take O’Neal some gifts to cheer her up on Sunday after church. But she noticed on Sunday morning that Tryeflue O’Neal, whom she called “Trye”, wasn’t reading her text messages. When she still hadn’t read them on Sunday night, she went to the home and deputies had already arrived.
Haines-Ross said O’Neal raised true German Shepherd puppies and they had found homes for all but two of those as of Monday.
O’Neal’s two sons had just moved to Warner Robins to be closer to their workplace. One of the sons is expecting his first child as O’Neal’s first grandchild was expected on Tuesday.
On July 5, O’Neal thanked people on her Facebook page for their birthday wishes and indicated that it had been a tough year.
“I think [it was] the first [year] I ever spent completely alone. What a year.... if I’ve learned anything it’s to never take ANYTHING for granted. Life is short (no matter how old you are- RIP NaNa). Forever ends before forever is up sometimes. Sometimes twice. My heart is the most fragile part of my being- and I must never change that no matter how bad it hurts at times as this is the piece of me that is closest to the Lord. Things are not always as they appear, some not even close, when you are too tired to stand...kneel, but most importantly I’ve learned God STILL HAS A PLAN! Jeremiah 29:11- I will wear it proud with my broken wings and tattered rope because even in the worst of storms there is still a rainbow hiding somewhere amidst the rain. Look past the dark clouds- open your eyes of Faith. Believe that the latter days will be better than the former days. Believe that there is a God who gave his only Son that we may have life and have it abundantly. Looking forward to 42 with my first grandson, living a life on purpose, new journeys, big dreams, big results, soulful relationships, and if it is God’s will New Beginnings. It’s never too late to begin again.”
Krieger turns 16 in August.
Monroe County Reporter Publisher Will Davis granted The Covington News permission to publish this report.